overcoming decorating paralysis :: {I need your help}
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 by {darlene}

I have been tossing and turning ideas around in my mind for the next big topic – the topic of ‘No Time to Decorate!’ And, it is high time I tackle it in my overcoming decorating paralysis series.

{haven’t read the series? Oh, I really think you will love it! Snap out of that decorating paralysis, will ya?!}

Only. I have a big, big, BIG challenge with my next topic of Time. Um. I have none. Or, at least, it feels like that to me!

Time, or lack of it, is a HUGE issue when it comes to being paralyzed in our home decorating. And, yes, I do have lots of thoughts on the topic, and even tips to share. BUT….

It truly is MY OWN PERSONAL area of weakness for Decorating Paralysis.

You know. The whole “cobler’s kids have no shoes” kinda thing??

So, here is where I need your help. I want to kick start the next portion of my still-to-come “Overcoming Decorating Paralysis :: No Time” Post with YOUR ideas.

So, without further ado,

1. What is your number one tip for making time to decorate?

2. How do you carve in time to do comparison shopping and color comparing?

3. Can you think of any other time saving tips when it comes to decorating and/or organizing?

4. Do you bite off your decorating projects in bits or chunks?

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!!!



{click over to the post to leave a comment, if you are reading this via email or reader. Also, to find the comment section to leave your brilliant thoughts, click on the words “Leave A Comment” in the lower left of this post, beneath my pic and signature.}


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Labeled: overcome decorating paralysis


  • I agree there is not always time. The best thing to do is have a party! For me…that is when I get all those little things that have been on my list done. Just like I have heard about time management set a time to give you 30 minutes to start with decluttering…..which will help you see the big picture. I tend to concentrate on one room at a time. Don’t spread you budget out all over the house. Your efforts will look diluted then…..no bang. Be patient…wait for the best deal or that piece you love to go on sale. If you take your time your space will have a more curated look which is more interesting.

  • Great questions and a topic I need help with! Being able to shop online is a huge timesaver. I don’t do a ton of comparisons. I am a satisficer rather than a maximizer (http://happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2006/06/are_you_a_satis/). Because of my budget constraints, I do things in bits, which gives me lots of time to think about and live with whatever I’m designing. It’s slow but it helps to think of it that way.

  • My best advice for finding time to decorate is retire!!! Then, you have a few more choices on how you want to spend your time, potentially so. I find that devising a plan and prioritizing that to-do list best serve me, keeping in mind budget, where I want to save money with DIY’s, big box stores, and where we are willing to spend more money. I’ve discovered that I can create beauty where I live and not postpone those acts of joy for down the road. If that means focusing on adding curtain panels to the den, at a good price point, then I only focus on that and I do a lot of online comparisons. I don’t try to work on several projects at once. This invariably means a wait. Shopping at home helps me in the waiting process as projects and purchases can’t be done all at once. I will rearrange furniture, declutter, start imagining those drapes in that room. Then, whatever I buy, I must absolutely LOVE. I ask myself tough questions like: so will this cute little decor item be a keeper or will I include it in the garage sale two years from now? why not save those pennies and invest in curtain panels? Less is more. And, finally, definitely go for a Fall hike with the family and forget about staying home to paint the bedroom. Then, the next weekend, make time for the painting and let your family cook dinner for you. Compromises, prioritizing, celebrating.

  • I knew I could count on all of you!! Keep em coming!

  • My middle name is “NoTime”. I home school seven of my kids (kindergarten through HS senior), I have a toddler, my husband works from home and needs the house quiet and clean (at least on the main floor), I’m on the Board of Directors of a small non-profit, and I’m a scout leader. I do not have a job outside the home, but that also means that I don’t get out much!

    So here’s how I fit in decorating:
    I plan in my head when I’m doing things that don’t require a lot of brain work like chopping onions or washing dishes.
    After I have a plan, I add to my running list of things I’m looking for, like “beautiful frame for over the guest bed.” Also on that list is what needs to happen before I spend $$, which would be “measure for min/max dimensions” or something like that.
    When I have a few minutes I try to fill in those “needs to happen” details like “frame size 18-24 in. high by 24-30 in. wide.”
    Then when I’m ready to shop, I just keep an eye out for the things on my list. I take my binder of lists with me when I go to the places I usually buy stuff at: the antique stores and flea markets and art fairs.
    I also keep a running list by room of what problems I want to solve and cross them off as I make choices. That way, when I see a cute side table in the Maine Cottage Catalog, I know already that I need two and they have to be X” tall as well as coordinating without matching.

    I work in bits, very patient. I spent years not decorating because we moved a lot, renting. Now that we’re somewhat settled, I am finally buying “real” furniture and replacing ugly towel racks, painting rooms, etc. I expect the house will feel “good enough” sometime in 2020.

    As far as comparisons, I do that online for everything I buy new. For second hand things like antiques, I don’t compare, I just buy what I love when I see it as long as I can afford it.

  • Um.. I stink at all the above! Seriously! And if I decorate, it’s in chunks. I get very overwhelmed bc I can’t make a decision about what I want!!

  • I love Sherry’s advice to be patient but don’t spread the budget all over the house. I have done that and not one room feels done. I am ready to finish up each room systematically but we all have budgets so that means trying to be patient. I think it’s good to have a plan (mood board, inspiration files) of the direction you want to take a room….so maybe putting some time into that, will make it easier to cross things off the to-do list for a room without demanding a lot of time.

  • I do all (ok, most) of my decorating and re-decorating in the summer. As a teacher, I try to keep to one look for 9 months or so (because I have NO TIME, like you!), refreshing only here and there during long weekends and breaks. If i know the scheme i want to move towards, I might take some time at night to look through some great catalogues to get ideas to make myself (or have my creative husband do it for me). Just wish I had more time.

  • Good stuff, Darlene!! My wheels are turning. I struggle with this for sure.

    1) Plan! I’m a thinker not a doer so I have had to force myself to plan with my hectic schedule and the kids. On Sundays, I try to earmark a day of the week to focus on a project. Usually it is a Tues. or Thurs. morning when preschool is in session. I also have rules for myself – certain things have to be “done”, paper stuff caught up on, etc before I start something new which keeps me motivated and timely on the not-so-fun stuff at home. I think a lot during other times about what is next in each space.
    2) I do most of my comparison shopping online at night while watching TV with hubby. Or through catalogs. And I also try to do errands like grocery shopping and Target with the kids so that it doesn’t eat at decorating time even if it isn’t always fun.
    3) Setting goals or a deadline always helps. Holidays. Guests or out of town visitors gets my booty in gear. Or a party, like Sherry said!
    4) I bite off in bits but I have the chunk in my head or on a design board if that makes sense. All of our rooms are evolving for sure.

    Finally, patience and the understanding that I can’t do it all overnight!

    My goal for 2012 was to be purposeful in my time online and I can’t tell you how much time this has saved.

    That being said I still have A LOT of room for improvement. Time management does not come naturally for me like a lot of “creatives.” :)

  • This is a huge challenge! I think it helps to be working a few different things at once. If I decided to decorate one room at a time and finish it before moving on to the next, it would take me FOREVER, because I’m shopping for the right piece at the right price. But if I keep an eye out for five different things I’m shopping for at once, it cuts out a lot of time. I do most of my shopping online, so I try to carve out a few minutes here or there throughout the day to get it done. Excited to read this series!

  • Finding time to decorate is difficult. There always seems to be something more pressing and important to do. I try to set aside short time spans to start projects and work on them. It seems easier than setting aside large chunks of time. Of course there are times when I get completely absorbed in a larger project and other things are neglected. Truly finding balance is not an simple task. I am able to do a lot of comparison shopping while I wait for my son at basketball practice. I have two hours of quiet time and am blessed to have a large shopping plaza nearby. It also gives me quiet uninterrupted time to look through catalogs or online.

  • I never set a time or day aside to decorate. It usually hits me when I least expect it! I do love a rainy day when the kids are at school and hubby at work. I turn up some music, make some coffee, and start the domino effect (you know where you move one thing and then you have to move 10 more things to fill that hole)!!! My rule of thumb is just do it when the inspiration hits!

  • I am retired from my corporate job and only work part time at a daycare. I have more time than I’ve ever had in my life and love it!

    I have a master decorating list which describes what I want to be done to each room of my house. It is very detailed. I’m usually working on a room or two at a time. I purchase most of my items used on eBay or Craigs List as I like vintage. Shopping online this way takes time and can be frustrating as I lose out on a lot of items because I’m cheap! I’m always looking for multiple items – new tables for the living room, a bar cart for the dining room, new dining room chairs, etc.

    Anything I purchase has to have a need and a place. I don’t buy knick knacks because I like a more minimal look.

    My master decorating plan keeps me focused on what I want done. I use it to plan out next steps. I love crossing things off my list. I love being able to see all the things I want done to the house in one place. It makes me feel in control and not overwhelmed.

    I also try to finish a project before taking on something new. Such as I bought fabric for pillows but haven’t made them yet. So I can’t purchase more fabric for drapes until the pillows are done, etc.

    The last thing I do is acknowledge that I will never be done. I always will want to change something up, or find a different piece that slighly changes my plan. It’s OK. I love the process of decorating as much if not more than the thought of having a room done.

  • Hey girl! I’m a little slow, but I couldn’t agree more with finishing up one room first. Knock them off as you go.

    We’ve found that with three kids and the husband’s full time job, we have to carve out time to be weekend warriors, and to finish things up, a lot of the time we work at night when the kids are in bed. And I do a lot of internet shopping when I’m not frequenting the antique malls, because it’s faster and I can hop around and usually the returns are no hassle. I hope that helps! You just literally have to schedule it out. Which is easier said than done, I know. Let’s just say we have a major back porch redo coming up, in time for a mag shoot coming our way, and we haven’t seen our friends or been social in months. It’s a give and take, for sure! We do both bits and chunks…whenever it hits, but it’s coming easier with the bits now that a lot of the chunks are out of the way. ;} I’m ready to get my life back, and you have to decide what you want to spend your time on, for sure. It’s a real balance!

  • I tend to do things bit by bit. Very rarely am I able to find time to shop, gather materials, paint, sew, etc. all in a chunk. But I love to set myself a deadline to get individual projects done. Sometimes I create a deadline for myself: for instance, I’ll plan a party or invite overnight guests to give me that extra “oomph” to make something happen. And it always works best for me to do SOMETHING big (maybe paint a room) and then fill in around the edges. For instance, I’ve had a bedroom that I liked okay for several years, and just this fall I got the final wall decorated with a mirror gallery wall. And once I had the idea for creating the gallery wall, it still took me weeks to find the time to actually carry it out! Hmmm. Time seems to be an issue for a lot of us, doesn’t it?

  • I decorate a lot while I’m cleaning:0) For me it goes hand in hand and it makes the task a bit less boring:0) While I’m cleaning I’m planning and writing down what I would like to do! Then I just make plans to go purchase those things.
    For bigger projects I definitely work in chunks! One big project at a time:0) and just like Ashley above I like to finish up one room before I start another but they almost never happens…lol! My home is definitely evolving as well:0)

  • […]   And I would be remiss if I did not mention all the fantastic tips from my readers on how THEY find the time to decorate their homes. To read what they have to say, scroll down to the comments on the original […]

  • I love decorating, it is my passion and always has been! I have helped many decorate their homes homes and I can hussle, find the perfect pieces and get it done….when it is someone else’s home.
    I tend to drag my feet more with my own home decorating. I do tend to bite off a large chunk, and may have several rooms going at one time, versus tiny steps. I find that when I am more pressured to complete a task, the quicker I can get it done. Sometimes I just have to step back and take a break from it all, too.
    It’s so fulfilling to me to complete a room, I just wish I could do it without feeling the pressure to get it done.

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